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Straight Flush Draw vs Daniel Negreanu ($100,000 Duel Hand Analysis)

Doug’s Flop Analysis

Daniel decides to bet half pot with his top pair good kicker. I want to talk about a couple of things on the flop.

I play a single size strategy on the flop — which means I have one specific size I will use when I choose to bet the flop. I think Daniel does the same, but I’m not sure. So, we’re going to approach [this analysis] from the perspective of using an optimal, single size.

If you’re using an optimal single size, Daniel’s size of half pot is not a very great size. The reason is that it’s simply too big to allow you to value bet with hands like Kings, Queens, and Jacks.

If we look at the total value of this strategy [in PioSolver], the out of position player’s pot share would be 4660 chips when they use the big size.

And if you use a small size, like I’m recommending something like 22% pot, the value is 4710 chips. So, basically you make about 50 chips more [on average] by using the smaller size strategy.

*You can see Doug compare these values in the video analysis for this street*

It’s not the end of the world. You can definitely use either one. But one of the things I like about the small size, the 22% pot rather than the 50% pot, is this is what the flop c-bet range looks like for Daniel if he uses the size he used…

daniel betting range half pot

Salmon = Bet half pot | Green = Check

…and this is what it looks like if he just does the 22% pot size.

daniel c-bet range oop small size

Salmon = Bet 22% pot | Green = Check

Basically, if you go small, like I’m recommending, not only do you make more money, but you also can just bet every single hand and there’s nothing that Button can really do about it

It is a much easier strategy to play and is a higher value strategy to play. I would strongly recommend doing this over what Daniel did here on the flop.

Going back to Daniel’s size that he did use Ace Jack would quite often be betting here, but it would do a check about 20%, 25%, 30% of the time depending on the combo.

ace jack breakdown using daniels size

You can see the ones like Ace-Jack with a Jack clubs actually check almost half the time, whereas the ones with no club are a little more likely just to bet and get some value.

Also, when you have a diamond, you’re a little less likely to bet because you block some backdoor flush draw hands that would call. So, Ace-Jack with the Jack of Diamonds doesn’t like betting as much as Ace-Jack with the Jack of hearts.

I know it seems kind of nitpicky and not that important, but these small differences between these hands are actually something that matter when you’re creating your strategy.

If you’re going to try and play poker at a really high level, you want to be thinking about blocker and unblocker effects as you go through a hand.

Anyway, one thing that Daniel successfully did here was he kind of knocked me off of playing a correct strategy. All of the work that I’ve done on boards like this assumes that your opponent is going to bet a really small size, which Daniel did not do. He bet half pot.

Because of [Daniel’s bigger size], the Button does almost no raising. If we look here, when I decided to raise to 12,000 on the flop, basically I don’t have almost any raises. In fact, I would only be raising 1.4% of the time.

Typically speaking, when raise frequency gets below 2 or 3%, you don’t really lose that much by never having raises at all. And that’s definitely what I would recommend to do here.

If I look at [5c] [4c], specifically, it would always call. If we look at the EV of raising versus calling — they’re very, very similar. [Calling has a value of 11903 chips whereas raising has a value of 11851 chips.]

But the point of the matter is when sizes get big on flops like this, your opponent is much more polar. It makes way less sense for you to be raising.

So, I do think my raise on the flop, while very close, is a mistake.

I want to show you guys why I did what I did, though.

If your opponent bets the small size and we look at what you’re supposed to do…

doug vs small bet

Salmon = Raise 3x | Green = Call | Blue = Fold

…you do lots of raising. The idea is that you can’t let your opponent bet really small and knock you off a bunch of equity. You need to fight back, get value, get your bluffs in and work all these ranges together.

Versus the small bet, Five-Four of clubs will raise about a fourth of the time:

54s response vs bet

So, there’s a good principle here that I use, which is that this hand does fit into a raising strategy.

But I did miss the main strategic concept, which is that as that flop size from your opponent gets bigger, you should respond by never raising.

This is going to make the rest of the hand a little bit weird because we’re out in the wilderness in a line that shouldn’t really happen.

Anyway, back to the hand, I raised a 12,000 and now over to Negreanu. What should he do facing this raise?

He actually does do a good chunk of 3-betting on the flop:

negreanu response vs raise

Salmon = 3-bet | Green = Call | Blue = Fold

The strong Aces like 3-betting, as do [the sets with] Pocket Sevens and Threes. (Note that this matrix is not proportional to weight. This is just giving you an idea of what the strategy should be.)

So, basically if Negreanu has any Ace, he’s going to at least call. If he has a pocket pair, the strong pairs are more likely to call. The weaker pairs are more likely to do some folding — like Eights, Nines, Tens. The stronger Aces are more likely to just call.

So, Ace Jack here actually do some 3-betting, but only when you have the Jack of clubs. I don’t mind just never doing this and only calling [with all Ace-Jacks], but I do think as you get closer to Ace-Queen, Ace-King, you have to put some uncomfortable 3-bets in on the flop.

Anyway, Daniel does decide to just call. Let’s take a turn.

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